Antinuclear

Australian news, and some related international items

Politics – what hope for civil society? theme for November 20 

AS I write the tortuous American election  process is going on. The USA used to be a world leader .   This is a gripping example of 2 different ways to run the political process. With Trump – dictatorial ruthlessness – heading to fascism, with Biden, restraint, respect for the rule of law, and a co-operative effort.

2020 has seen the continuing dictators, like  Xi Jinping, Putin, Putin, Kim Jong Un, Bolsonaro, Bashar Al-Assad – , and also the drift to  dictatorship in democratic countries, e.g India.  As the world is faced with huge problems, many people seem to turn to uninformed, anti-science populist leaders – especially in English- language countries –  USA, Britain, Australia.

So –  the American election circus goes on: it is something of a test case for the world.  To deal with global heating, nuclear dangers, and the pandemic, we need people of intelligence, respect for science, and the ability to co-operate.

Fortunately there are many thousands of people with all kinds of valuable skills , working on the global problems.  Far too many great organisations to name here, and a lot of them under the wing of the United Nations.

The achievements can be seen, and continue to evolve, First and foremost , there’s the U.N. Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, It matters, whatever the bosses of the ‘nuclear nations’ say.  There’s the global work towards the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference.   But, however good the work of these agencies, it can succeed only with the participation and support of millions of people

The media has a huge role to play in explaining and promoting this. But will they?

November 21, 2020 Posted by | Christina themes | Leave a comment

Politics in the age of pandemics, global heating, and nuclear danger – theme for November 20

The global threats of pandemic, climate change, and nuclear danger clearly require co-operation between nations, if we are to have any hope for a decent future – indeed – perhaps any future, for the human species, and for the rest of the other species, too.

Tensions as Armenia- Azerbaijan conflict pauses. War in Syria grinds on. USA and China already in some sort of cold war. National pride and one-up-manship are perpetually on display among the leaders of countries.  Nationalist and populist leaders seem to be in charge, with competitiveness and dog-eat-dog as their prevailing philosophy.

It is time for political leaders to pay attention to the efforts of global bodies, the United Nations, the World Health Organisation, and the many international agencies that work for the public good. What a timely winner for the Nobel Peace Prize was the United Nations World Food Programme!

As I write, people all over the world sigh in relief as the USA’s Democratic Party, led by reaonable people, Joe Biden and Kamala Harris, wins the American election.   The disastrous results of four years of the Trump presidency for the United States will take some fixing. A return of President Trump would mean disaster for the whole world.

A rational team in the White House could begin the change that the world needs –   co-operation between the powerful nations to address the threats that now preoccupy the world’s people.

The Biden-Harris team will address the horrors of pandemic and climate change.

But let’s be aware. They’ll be more co-operative on nuclear arms control, but they are just as much in the grip of the nuclear lobby as the Republicans are.

November 9, 2020 Posted by | Christina themes | Leave a comment

USA election – pandemic, climate, nuclear issues – theme for October 2020

On the pandemic – Donald Trump says – his COVID-19 infection is a “blessing from God”, and promises to make the experimental drug he received available for free to all Americans.

What can I say?  The present coronavirus chaos in America surely indicates what we can expect from a renewed Trump presidency – further chaos on the health area, and probably every other area, too.   Heaven help USA if an even worse virus should come along.

On climate? – a Democratic victory would be an improvement indeed.  Joe Biden has not been an enthusiast for climate action – but, under the pressure of the climate crisis, and the strong demand for action with the ‘green new deal”, he now expresses strongly the Democrats policy plans for action to reduce greenhouse emissions, and support international agreements.

On nuclear?  We know that Biden and the Democrats will be better in international relations. It will be  a relief to get away from the Trump brinkmanship and uncertainty.  But – We can’t expect much progress on curbing the nuclear weapons bonanza for the death industries.

On nuclear power. Well, despite the evidence now becoming clear – that small nuclear reactors are useless, the Democrats would pursue them, because of their intrinsic connection with USA’s favourite industry –  weapons making. And because the myth about a ”transitional technology” makes it easier for the fossil fuel industries to hang on in there.

October 17, 2020 Posted by | Christina themes | Leave a comment

Australian politics in the pandemic, climate, nuclear crises – theme for November 20

I’ve had to update this, in view of changed circustances:

  1. This site from now on will leave pandemic and climate coverage to others, as these issues are being covered so well by others,. Here we will focus on matters nuclear, which are being studiously  ignored in Australia’s mainstream media.
  2. A dramatic win for fair process and against the nuclear lobby has just happened, as Labor and crossbench Senators rejected the government’s Bill to impose a nuclear waste dump on Kimba, South Australia. (But that battle will no doubt continue Minister Pitt, Trump-like, does not like losing)

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To be fair, Prime Minister Scott Morrison did a good job – taking the advice of medical science, and promptly dealing with the onset of the coronavirus pandemic.

But – looking at the longer term –   well, this government just doesn’t look at it!

They thought that coronavirus would magically all be over within a few months.  They have no plan for the , longer term health and economic recovery,

Australia is a leper in the world community, as it refuses to take action against climate change.

The Australian government, hand in glove with weapons-makers, has its politicians freely moving into weapons-making jobs, and vice versa, ignoring the huge conflicts of interest.

 

October 15, 2020 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Christina themes, politics | Leave a comment

The American election: nuclear and climate issues -theme for October 2020

The coronavirus epidemic is right now the central human and ecological issue.  I am leaving that one, for other sites to cover.

The nuclear industry has always been the focus of this website.  For this coming election, it’s a sorry tale of woe. The Democrats managed to reject their most popular candidates – Bernie Sanders,  Elizabeth Warren,  who opposed the nuclear industry . The Democrats now orchestrated themselves now into some sort of weaker Republican-type party.  So, no surprise that Joe Biden is pretty much the same as Donald Trump on nuclear power.

We do see significant differences on foreign policy and nuclear weapons control, with Biden showing understanding of these issues, while Trump reveals his typical ignorance and marketing slogan nonsense.

If only the media would probe them on matters nuclear, instead of highlighting trivialities like their latest gaffes.

On global heating, there is a difference.   Donald Trump manages to ignore climate change, and use the horrific bushfires to attack the States on “forest management”  (never mind that federal forests are largely involved).    Importantly, he has pulled America out of the Paris international climate accord.

In his first term, Trump has blocked, weakened, or rolled back 100 environmental, public health, and worker safety regulations. Among them are virtually all the steps Obama took to address climate change, from the Clean Power Plan for the electricity sector to tighter fuel economy standards for transportation, emissions standards on methane for oil and gas operations, efforts to integrate a “social cost of carbon” for agency decision-making, reform of fossil fuel leasing on public land, and energy efficiency standards on light bulbsDavid Roberts, writing in VOX .

Joe Biden plans to recommit to the Paris Accord and ensure that the US achieves a 100% clean energy economy and reaches net-zero emissions by 2050. Biden has also promised a halt to fossil fuel subsidies.  Recently Biden has made a lot of noise about climate change, mainly in attacking Trump. Methinks that Biden’s enthusiasm is rather recent, but he will be pushed towards action by the party.   Cartoon below by JINGJIE LI

October 10, 2020 Posted by | Christina themes | Leave a comment

Australia and the American election: Nuclear and climate issues -theme for October 20

American politics – nothing to do with us?   Think again.

Nuclear weapons – not much difference – whoever wins.  With Pine Gap,  military bases, and the ANZUS and Five Eyes spy alliances, Australia is tied in to the U.S. military industrial complex. Those bases are a military target. The USA will want to sell us military stuff, bring its nuclear submarines to our ports, etc.  However, there’s  a better chance of stability if the Democrats win, as Joe Biden is interested in arms control and agreements, whereas Trump specialises in tearing them all up.

The nuclear fuel chain – little difference. Joe Biden will be the same as Trump, perhaps worse, as he would be more organised, so better able to promote the marketing of gimmicky small nuclear reactors to Australia.

Climate change. Here lies a difference – a big one for Australia. Scott Morrison must be praying for Trump victory. They are pretty much on the same page on global heating, though unlike Trump,  Morrison has to pretend that he cares.

Indeed, a Biden victory would mean trouble for the Morrison government.  Joe Biden if president will push allies like Australia to do more on climate.

 

September 24, 2020 Posted by | Christina themes | Leave a comment

The Arctic – where global heating meets nuclear pollution – polar theme for September 20

Global heating is bringing massive changes to the Arctic, and at an accelerating pace. It is the warning system to the world, as sea ice melts, Greenland’s glaciers melt, swathes of frozen ground thaw, permafrost melts. The Arctic ocean will probably be ice-free in summer by 2040.

Crazily, Russians and Americans rejoice, seeing all this as the opportunity to exploit the region for oil and gas, the very things that are causing this unfolding climate nightmare. Apparently these governments are not concerned about the Arctic processes that bring changed global weather, with changed ocean currents, sudden extreme cold snaps. Global heating speeds up with feedback loops: as ice is lost , dark water absorbs more heat from the sun, melting permafrost releases methane and carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.

Arctic regions now experience repeated uncontrollable forest fires, bringing environmental and economic destruction.

Nuclear pollution.  The Arctic is where the the two disastrous threats meet – climate change and nuclear radiation. This danger is happening with fires threatening Northern Russian radioactive sites, and with radiation released as buried nuclear items appear from under the ice.   Russia’s dumping of nuclear submarines and other radioactive trash is now recognised as a danger to Arctic ecosystems.

There are 39 nuclear-powered vessels or installations in the Russian Arctic today with a total of 62 reactors. This includes 31 submarines, one surface warship, five icebreakers, two onshore and one floating nuclear power plant.  These numbers are set to increase; . “By 2035, the Russian Arctic will be the most nuclearized waters on the planet.”

There were 2 fatal arctic accidents in 2019 – 14 sailors killed due to a fire on a nuclear-powered submarine, and an underwater nuclear-powered cruise missile exploded.  Several serious submarine nuclear reactor accidents have occurred in Arctic waters, and a U.S. bomber with plutonium warheads  crashed at Thule airbase on Greenland. In the Kara Sea, thousands of containers wit radioactive waste were dumped, together with 16 reactors.

September 6, 2020 Posted by | Christina themes | Leave a comment

Antarctica – global heating and nuclear issues – theme for September 20

Antarctica is not in the news as much as the Arctic is,  But global heating is affecting Antarctica too, and Antarctica has its nuclear issues.

Antarctica has made headlines several times this year due to extremely warmer than usual temperatures. It has been steadily heating up for decades.  Antarctic ice shelves have lost nearly 4 trillion metric tons of ice since the mid-1990s, scientists say. Ocean water is melting them from the bottom up, causing them to lose mass faster than they can refreeze.  As ice shelves melt, they become thinner, weaker and more likely to break. When this happens, they can unleash streams of ice from the glaciers behind them, raising global sea levels. Antarctica is also losing ice from melting ice sheets, and chunks of ice falling from glaciers.

Less studied than the Arctic region, Antarctic is now being investigated by Australian researchers, using robots to gather data from difficult to reach underwater areas. Satellite monitoring confirms the shelves’ melting trend.

Nuclear issues.  From 6,000 nautical miles away, uranium mining in Australia is polluting the Antarctic.  After 1945 atomic bomb testing sent radioactive pollution to the South Pole, as well as to everywhere else on the planet.

USA  operated  a small nuclear power plant at Antarctica’s McMurdo Sound. It was known as “nukey poo” because of its frequent radioactive leaks. It had 438 malfunctions – nearly 56 a year – in its operational lifetime, including leaking water surrounding the reactor and hairline cracks in the reactor lining. The emissions of low level waste water where in direct contravention of the Antarctic Treaty, which bans military operations as well as radioactive waste in Antarctica. After the reactor was closed down, the US shipped 7700 cubic metres of radioactive contaminated rock and dirt to California.  Many USA naval workers there developed cancers.

Today, small nuclear reactors similar to this one, are being touted for remote areas in Australia and other countries. The history of this one in Antarctica, and 7 others elsewhere, was one of malfunctions, and closing down within a few years. This does not augur well for the small nuclear reactors being promoted today.

August 22, 2020 Posted by | Christina themes, climate change - global warming, technology | Leave a comment

Remembering Hiroshima and Nagasaki – time for the Global Nuclear Ban Treaty – theme for August 2020

August 6th and August 9th are the days that remind us of the horror of nuclear weapons.  The failing and desperate nuclear industry would like us to forget  about Hiroshima and Nagasaki. They’d like us to swallow their spin about new small nuclear reactors. (But new small nuclear reactors are just the latest gimmick to support the nuclear weapons industry, and put a friendly mask on it. They really have no other purpose.)

In this time of pandemic and global heating, Trump’s USA, Putin’s Russia, and other nations, are putting obscene amounts of money into nuclear weapons. The U.N.’s Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons  (passed by a vote of 122-1-1 at the United Nations in 2017) is looking ever more rational and necessary.  It will enter into force when 50 nations have ratified it. It’s now up to 43 ratifications.

“The pandemic has taught us that all the world’s great needs and threats are linked. By reallocating bloated military spending and reorienting nations to resolve conflict through peaceful negotiation, people and governments throughout the world can more easily tackle the enormous economic and civil injustices that give rise to conflict and fuel the fire of climate change. Each victory in each arena must be used to feed progress elsewhere if humanity is to survive this century.

As we remember the victims of the atomic bombings 75 years ago and hear the stories of the survivors, we realize more than ever: we are all in this together. ” – Michael Christ, Executive Director, International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War

August 15, 2020 Posted by | Christina themes, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Remembering Nagasaki

This is perhaps the saddest photograph of the time of America’s August 1945 nuclear bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The dignity of this boy, as he waits, with his small dead brother strapped to his back, to include the brother in a mass grave.

We know that the bombing of people is unethical, immoral, and simply wrong.

We know that chemical and biological weapons of mass destruction are inhumane and immoral. The global human society knows this, too, and they are illegal under the United Nations Ban –  the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC)  and United Nations Biological Weapons Convention (BWC)

The Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons(TPNW), or the Nuclear Weapon Ban Treaty, is the first legally binding international agreement to comprehensively prohibit nuclear weapons, with the goal of leading towards their total elimination. … As of 4 July 2019, 23 nations have ratified the treaty, and it was passed by 120 countries at the United Nations in July 2017.

The nuclear lobby, and the “hawks” may scoff, but this Treaty is clear evidence that the world is coming to see that considering the humanitarian effects of nuclear war, – the treaty prohibits the development, testing, production, stockpiling, stationing, transfer, use and threat of use of nuclear weapons, as well as assistance and encouragement to the prohibited activities.

The goal is the complete elimination of nuclear weapons. Sounds too extreme to be taken seriously?   It is not as extreme as the goal of using them, which is still actively being considered by the Pentagon.

In July – commentators, politicians, journalists went ecstatic on the 50th anniversary of the moon landing. It’s rarely mentioned that USA’s original plan was to explode a nuclear bomb on the moon. It’s rarely mentioned in the current hype about Mars exploration, that the Trump administration’s plan is for nuclear weapons in space .

The humanitarian, the “emotional” side, of discussing nuclear weapons is now taken seriously, much as the nuclear proponents will pontificate about “strategy”, “security” etc. With the UN nuclear ban treaty –   nuclear weapons are no longer “respectable”, and are headed towards eventual elimination.

August 8, 2020 Posted by | Christina themes | Leave a comment

Australia and nuclear weapons – theme for August 2020

Sad to say, but Australia, or at least the Australian government, is something of an international pariah  on the great issues of climate action, and nuclear disarmament.

In decades past, Australia took a leadership position on nuclear disarmament.   Not any more.The rot really set in with the dismissal of Gough Whitlam as Prime Minister.   That whole thing remains shrouded in secrecy, but Whitlam wanted Australia’s government to know what was going on at Pine Gap, and opposed having a USA  secret spy and military operations base operating in Australia.  I believe that it was Whitlam’s stand about Pine Gap that was the underlying reason for his dismissal.

After Whitlam, Australian governments kowtowed to USA, and continue to do so. As with climate action, the Australian government continues to sabotage international disarmament efforts.  That’s why we have U.S. military bases as targets in this country, and some Liberal and National MPs itching to buy nuclear weapons from US.

On a positive note, however, Australians can be proud of the initiation of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, (ICAN) which was started by Australians, and won the Nobel Peace Prize.  This led to the United Nations Treaty on the prohibition of nuclear weapons, voted in by 122 nations, now ratified by 40.  It is an important start, removing any pretense that such weapons could be considered ethical.  There are now 28 Australian councils that call for the federal government to sign and ratify the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons..

for page Andrew Wilkie  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gRfhFITToa8

for International  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0XzrxspyzXo

for international – very good  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jveGno7ee9I

 

July 18, 2020 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Christina themes, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Nuclear power, far too slow to affect global heating – theme for July 20

In recent themes I wrote about nuclear power being in fact a big contributor to global warming,  and about how climate change will in fact finish off the nuclear industry.

But – let’s pretend that nuclear reactors really could reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

TIME: To do that, 1500 one thousand megawatt-electric new reactors would be needed within a few years to displace a significant amount of carbon-emitting fossil generation.  A Massachusetts Institute of Technology Study on “The Future of Nuclear Power”   projected that a global growth scenario for as many as 1500 one thousand megawatt-electric new reactors would be needed to displace a significant amount of carbon-emitting fossil generation. Average 115 built per year would reduce our CO2 use by only 16%.

But the new flavour of the month is Small Modular Nuclear Reactors (SMRs), which generate  from 50 to 200 megawatts. So the  world would need, quickly, to have a significant reduction of carbon emissions, i.e at least 7500 largish SMRs – or 30,000 smaller ones., (and these SMRs are already shown to be more costly than large ones,)

Meanwhile – if the nuclear “climate cure” were to be pursued, the enormous costs and efforts involved would take away from the clean, fast, and ever cheaper solutions of energy efficiency and renewable energy

July 18, 2020 Posted by | Christina themes, climate change - global warming | Leave a comment

NUCLEAR’s WHOPPING CLIMATE LIE – theme for July 2020

“If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. A lie told once remains a lie but a lie told a thousand times becomes the truth ”

Dr Goebbels would be delighted with the nuclear lobby’s lie that nuclear power is zero carbon and will fix climate change. He would be even more delighted with the current success of this lie.

“Think of the press as a great keyboard on which the government can play.”

The failing nuclear industry is fighting for its life. It now pitches its salvation on its claim to halt climate change. Even if
that were true (which it isn’t) the world would have to construct several thousand ‘conventional’ reactors, or several millions of Small Modular Reactors (SMRs) very quickly, within a decade or two.

How is it that politicians , media, academics have swallowed this lie?

 

July 7, 2020 Posted by | Christina themes, climate change - global warming | Leave a comment

Climate change a grave threat to nuclear power, especially in Australia – theme for July 2020

Over recent months the global nuclear lobby, USA in particular, and its Australian followers, have managed to get Parliamentary Inquiries and Bills going, with the aim of undoing Australia’s laws that prohibit the nuclear industry.  At the same time the push to make South Australia a nuclear waste importing hub has been revived, with the Federal government’s plan for a waste dump at Kimba as the first step.

And what is the nuclear lobby’s argument for nuclear power?  – the absurdly false claim that it will solve climate change.

IT’s THE OTHER WAY AROUND!      Nuclear facilities cannot cope with global heating!   Especially in Australia.

Climate change is bringing  extreme temperatures and weather events, and sea level rise, to Australia.

For Australia, the threats from global warming are very real:

  • bushfires would pose the greatest threat to any nuclear facilities, (as Ukraine and USA are already finding out).
  • Droughts bring water shortages, meaning that precious water is not easily available for water guzzling nuclear reactors.
  • Where inland reactors are water-cooled – the threat to river life of heat pollution becomes greater.
  • There would be great  danger to the Great Artesian Basin increases, especially  for any nuclear facilities located in South Australia
  • For coastal nuclear facilities, sea level rise and storm surges are dangers.
  • For many nuclear facilities ( reactors, fuel processing, waste disposal), coastal or inland, flooding brings more danger.

 

June 25, 2020 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Christina themes, climate change - global warming, safety | Leave a comment

Financial institutions funding nuclear weapons – theme for June 20

Nobody except a few erratic multi-billionaires is willing to gamble their money on “peaceful” nuclear power.  Still, your taxes are going to so-called “commercial” nuclear power, if you live in a nuclear country.

But banks, pension funds, insurance companies and asset managers are investing in nuclear weapons – and you wouldn’t even know that your money is going there.  Don’t Bank on the Bomb has listed institutions around the world with substantial investments in nuclear arms producers. Fo example  From 2013 to 2016, United States 226 Financial Institutions made an estimated USD$ 344 billion available to 27 nuclear weapon producing companies .

International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weaspons, (ICAN) has identified financial organisations funding nuclear weapons The report Don’t Bank on the Bomb, updated annually by PAX, provides details of financial transactions with companies that are heavily involved in the manufacture, maintenance and modernization of US, British, French and Indian nuclear forces.

ICAN is appealing to financial institutions to stop investing in the nuclear arms industry, as any use of nuclear weapons would violate international law and have catastrophic humanitarian consequences. By investing in nuclear weapons producers, financial institutions are in effect facilitating the build-up of nuclear forces. This undermines efforts to achieve a nuclear-weapon-free world and heightens the risk that one day these ultimate weapons of mass destruction will be used again.

Engaging in dialogues with financial institutions about their investments in nuclear weapons companies can help to raise their understanding of the effects of nuclear weapons and their status under international law. Here are some tips for letter-writing:

  • How to begin: Let the financial institution know who you are. Do you hold a bank account with them? Are you a member of their superannuation plan? Do you own shares in their company? Are you writing as a representative of a particular organization? Are you simply a concerned citizen?
  • What to include: Inform the financial institution that you are aware of their investments in nuclear weapons companies. Specify which companies and briefly describe the activities these companies are engaged in. Outline why you believe that financing nuclear weapons is illegitimate.
  • Ask for information: Inquire as to whether the financial institution has a policy on investing in the arms industry. If you are already aware that such a policy exists, ask the institution to explain how its investments in nuclear weapons companies can be justified under the terms of the policy.
  • Call for action: Call on the financial institution to divest from all nuclear weapons companies. Explain that nuclear weapons are illegal to use and have catastrophic humanitarian consequences. End by making it clear that you expect a response. –  Don’t Bank on the Bomb 

June 20, 2020 Posted by | Christina themes | Leave a comment